Bluffing At The Micro Stakes Poker

Poker is far from the game where the best hand always wins, this is true when it goes to the showdown and hand combinations are compared, but your goal will often be to get your opponent to fold a better hand. There are two types of bluffing in poker :
  • Pure Bluff you have a very weak hand with no potential chance to improve it so it could win a pot at showdown, thus you bet and try to take the pot down.
  • Semi Bluff you have a drawing hand that can improve to a very strong hand, your bet isn't a pure bluff as there's still a chance that you will improve the hand strength and win the pot. This is known as a semi bluff and you're betting to either get your opponent to fold or build a pot and hit your draw.

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Bluffing is one of the most complicated things in poker, don't get me wrong, clicking buttons and betting isn't hard. The hardest part is finding the good and profitable spots for these bluffs. This is exactly what you'll learn about in this article how to find good spots and good players to bluff against.

Street Bluffs

3 streets relate to the post flop betting rounds of the flop, turn and river. When playing micro stakes you should avoid making these kinds of plays for several reasons:
  • Even if they are profitable, it's a tiny profit you'll make on average, but the increase in variance and swings will be very significant. You'll want to avoid the latter as in the beginning of your poker carer large variance might be hard to overcome. We'd advise you to completely avoid doing these kinds of bluffs in the beginning of your poker playing adventure.
  • Players at these stakes aren't fans of folding. That's right, most players will be playing for fun and it's in human nature to call. You'll find a lot of tables that are filled with loose passive players who simply love that call button. Instead of throwing your money away, concentrate on value betting these players lightly. We have an article devoted to value betting as well, so in case you aren't aware of this concept yet, feel free to read it.

Players you want to bluff against

Even though the majority of players are the so called stations that you DO NOT want to bluff, there is a specific player type that are known as ''rocks''. They are afraid of putting any money into the put, unless they have the nuts. These players are pretty much the only exception, when it comes to bluffing. However, you should still avoid betting at all 3 streets versus these, as if they call on the turn and river, chances are that they hold a very strong hand.

The Semi Bluff

As already mentioned, semi bluff is a great way to get your opponents of hands that would likely win the pot in the event of you not making your hand. However, there are a couple of more reasons for semi-bluffing.
  • When your opponents see that you're playing your draws aggressively some of them, especially at Micro Stakes, will automatically assume that you have a draw on any board where it's possible. Your big hands, like sets, will get paid off more often because of this.
  • You'll get your money in with a hand that always has reasonable equity. Along with that, when you play your draws aggressively, you will often get your opponents to fold mediocre strength hands. This is kind of a win/win situation,a s the money you win without showdown will add a significant portion to your win-rate.

Bet Bluffs

Even Micro Stakes are now somewhat filled with players who understand the concept of three betting as a bluff before the flop. You should definitely do it, but be picky about the spots to do so. The best spots are usually those when you are sitting in the late position such as CutOff or Button and a player from a stealing position opens the pot with a raise. You can 3bet a lot of marginal hands in these situations, because you'll be playing in position post flop. You'll also often take pots down either before the flop or with a c-bet on dry boards. Again, this will add a significant portion to your win-rate.
There's also another reason for implementing marginal hands into your 3betting range before the flop. If you only 3bet strong holdings, your opponents will almost never play back at you versus if you do 3bet hands like 56s and JTs, they will pick it up and sometimes 4bet, thinking that your range is highly consisting of these hands. Just don't go out of line by 3betting too much.

Final Thoughts

Even though bluffing is a must have feature in your poker arsenal, when playing Micro Stakes you should concentrate on value betting way more. Gaining maximum amount of value from your good hands will earn you way more money than bluffing.